Bangladesh Awami League, the largest political party of Bangladesh, is in power for almost consecutive 13 years. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has gone through huge development during this period and there remains a long way to go. Several development projects are ongoing along with ambitious economic goals. And to take this country further, Bangladesh needs her farsighted leadership in the upcoming years also. But the ruling party is going through several internal turmoil during the last few years and requires synchronization and settlement inside for the real development of this nation.
In a democratic nation, it is important for any political party to practice democracy inside their party. But unfortunately,it is not the case for any large political parties of Bangladesh including Awami League. Family-based politics is the main trait here. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is the eldest daughter of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. But her leadership in restoring democracy in Bangladesh in the late ’80s as well as other difficult times was unparallel.
Moreover, she came into politics at a time, when being Bangabandhu’s daughter was a curse as she was an automatic target of the autocratic leaders. Hailing from the family of the greatest leader of Bangladesh was not easy for her at all. Her position as the daughter of Bangabandhu is really iconic and cannot be compared to anyone else. But that is not the case with the others inside and outside the party.
Hardly, any leadership now comes up from the root level. Leadership is mostly inherited in today’s politics. Whenever a leader dies, his or her close relatives like spouse, son, daughter, brother or sister comes up to fill that vacant position. Those who were working at immediate second tier of the late leader, hardly get any chance to get into the vacant position. Moreover, almost all leaders have one or two of their children active in the politics. They even patronize the move of their children into the politics.
These leaders of inheritance never face any struggle. Power, fame and money are presented to them. As they move into politics under the safe patronization of their parents, they get used to powerplay, corruption and illegal works. It has become the truth of politics in Bangladesh today as in the name of young leadership, only the children or relatives of the leaders are getting the scope.
For a political party to be successful and sustain in the long run, it is a must that sacrificing and committed leadership comes up from the root and they get proper nurturing and scope rather than patronization. We are not saying that, the relatives of leaders cannot come into politics. But their family identity should not be their prime qualification. Bangabandhu did not create his political identity with the help of his family rather it was his struggle to ensure the welfare of the people. The young leaders of today should also come up through the same path.
As Awami League is in power for over a decade, it seems that many leaders of the ruling party have got reluctant and moved towards personal benefits rather than people’s welfare. Many internal clashes are becoming visible. Moreover, the senior leaders should provide scope to the juniors and must guide them while the juniors should respect the seniors. This courtesy also seems missing.
Many other such disputes are visible inside the ruling party today which makes Awami League slightly vulnerable. Moreover, several allegations of corruption and illegal businesses like; casino, health services irregularity etc. involving the party leaders and activists also put the ruling party in backfoot. To take advantage of this awkward situations, the opposition forces are coming with different propaganda like; the recent Al-Jazeera report. Hence, it is important that, the leaders of the ruling party concentrate on their real works and strengthen the hand of PM Hasina.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is simultaneously the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, a global and regional leader, key driving force behind the development of Bangladesh and also the topmost leader of Bangladesh Awami League. In reality, it is very hard for her to look into the nitty-gritties of the party’s day-to-day activities.
Moreover, the party General Secretary Obaidul Quader is sick for a long time and came out of serious illness few months back. This scenario might be hurting the monitoring and controlling of the activities of the whole party to a great extent. It is unfortunate that, both the party President and General Secretary had to issue strong and harsh messages for the party leaders and activists on several instances to align all its leaders and activists to the same goal – Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bangla’.
The government and the party should be different from all aspects. Many Middle Eastern and African countries have failed due to incorporating the party with administration. A leader who becomes minister, mayor, upazila chairman, director general of a government institute or even a member of a government committee should not hold position in the party. The party should be made stronger than the government. Otherwise, if the party and government administration gets mixed, then it creates scope for fundamentalism. Different forces from inside and outside can take the chance. Hence, these two should be separate and PM Hasina also expressed such commitment regarding her party.
Here it is important to nurture the party leaders and activists with the ideology of nationalism, secularism and liberation war. If a party cannot grow with specific ideology, then development of a country cannot be sustained which is evident in the cases of many developed country also. Holding onto the positive principles is very important.
The scenario inside Awami League also exists in other opposition parties also. Family-oriented politics, personal benefits and ignoring people’s welfare is the trait of our opposition parties like; BNP also. BNP’s founder, Ziaur Rahman, being an autocratic leader, also held onto some ideals. But BNP moved far away from his principles. During their two terms in power, they have patronized corruption and terrorism. They bonded with several parties to get into power and lost their ideology. They could not restrain their own leaders and activists. As they were lacking ideology, Jamaat easily diverted BNP towards fundamentalism despite BNP being a nationalist party initially.
Though BNP is actively trying to get back into power for quite a few years now, the real question is if they are ready to regain the power. They have no coordination inside their party with their top leaders charged in graft cases. They are far away from any of the people’s agenda and due to their previous activities, people are pretty sure that, Bangladesh has no shining future with them in power. Right now, BNP should focus on creating nationalistic and secular ideological bond inside the party to create a progressive identity. Hence, it is also a mammoth task for them to reorganize their party and align them with the people. Otherwise, their future will be bound in issuing statements only as no propaganda will help them getting back to the power.
We, the people of Bangladesh, believe in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We appreciate her leadership, honesty, courage, valor and vision. She is the only one who can realize Bangabandhu’s dream of ‘Golden Bangla’. But she alone cannot do that. Her party leaders and activists should act as her resource rather than liability. For that, few tough decisions might be required. Sacrificing leaders and activists with nationalistic and secular ideology are must. We just hope, PM Hasina comes out of all the odds and Bangladesh keeps progressing and the future, fortune, rights and welfare of our people are ensured.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and
Chief Patron, Bangabandhu
Shishu Kishore Mela